Monday, May 12, 2014

London through its charity shops #26: Streatham SW16 & SW2

Streatham, or St Reatham as some wannabes are pronouncing it (apparently – I've never actually heard anyone say it this way in earnest) is on the up. You can tell by the house prices and quality of the charity shops: they're mostly great, plentiful and vaguely overpriced. Streatham's okay; it has a nice common, an ice rink, bowling alley and the newly opened Streatham Tate library, so named after its builder and benefactor, Henry Tate, founder of the Tate galleries, and former local resident.

Streatham's charity shops are all along the long and wide, boulevard-like (even on a Saturday afternoon it felt relatively empty due to its size) Streatham High Road. Streatham is big: it's spread over the boroughs Lambeth and Wandsworth and has three train stations (more than some cities have!): Streatham, Streatham Common and Streatham Hill.

Streatham Hill is the nearest station for the charity shops. I started with Give A Little  – 'a non profit charity shop with a difference'. I wasn't entirely sure what the difference was, but it's a lovely little shop with an ethnic feel and chilled out reggae music playing. It's clean and well looked after with quality items. Plenty of clothes and lots of CDs and DVDs only £1. I continued walking south towards Streatham Common. Trinity Hospice is very spacious and pleasant with wooden floor boards. Mostly clothes with some books and CDs.

PAWS (just off the High Road) is small and cramped but pretty cool, with plenty of clothes, posters, CDs, records and bric-a-brac. British Heart Foundation have a lovely Books and Music shop. Old jazz was playing; there were stacks of well-ordered records, CDs, books, DVDs and comics. I was in heaven. By contrast, Rffr charity shop was a shambles, but I like that too. Lots of VHS tapes. Next is a large Oxfam which stocks shabby furniture, electricals, books, music, DVDs, bric-a-brac and clothes.

Another Trinity Hospice is small but well ordered; lots of men's shirts, stacks of CDS and some records and books. Another Oxfam too, this one small but impeccable, apart from the records, which would have been great (The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Patti Smith etc) if they weren't mouldy. On the corner is a decent Cancer Research, good to see some toys actually – charity shops seem to be largely neglecting them nowadays. Next is an excellent, and large and spacious British Heart Foundation. All Aboard – Working for Charity was closed. Probably for the best, by now I was seriously starting to flag. Finally, a nice assortment of clothes in Shelter. A section of new stuff too, which never really appeals to me, as well as a few books and CDs.

By my count, that's twelve charity shops. Is this a record for a single road?

I wasn't really in the buying mood, so no barngains today. Besides, I've just moved into a rabbit hutch and am trying not to fill it with crap.

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